First WHPP Ice Hockey Festival & Academy with experts from Europe and USA

27th March 2023, Ljubljana – The city of Maribor will be from Friday, 7th April to Sunday, 9th April the venue of the very first Women’s Hockey Partnership for Progress Academy and Festival hosting around 150 participants from different walks of ice hockey life coming from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia.

Over the three-day event, each Women’s National Team will play a friendly match with other four participants adding up to ten games during the whole WHPP Festival. This on-the ice practice will be complemented by the events of the WHPP Academy including various workshops for specific target audiences, including players, coaches, goalie coaches and game officials.

Together with the International Ice Hockley Federation and other partners of the project, the organisers of the event have secured the participation of the women ice hockey experts from Europe and the USA. They will lead the workshops and share their knowledge and experience with young girls and women during their stay in Maribor, thus helping them to advance their game as well as improve other aspects of athlete’s life and perception of the sport.

Our experts:

Alexia CHEYROUX (FRA) is a former ice hockey player in the French women’s championship. Linesperson in the French men’s professional leagues – Ligue Magnus, Division 1 – since 2010 and at the IIHF competitions since 2019 (2019 – WW U18 D2, Spain; 2021 – Olympic pre-qualification, Italy; 2022  – WW U18 D1A, Hungary; 2023 – WW U18A, Sweden). In 2022 she also attended USA Hockey Officiating Development Camp in Minnesota.

Erika HOLST (SWE) is a former Swedish  National Team ice hockey player, representing Sweden at nine World Championships and winning silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and bronze medal at the 2002 Winter Olympics. She played with the Segeltorps IF and Riksserien in Swedish elite league and with the University of Minnesota Bulldogs when they won the first three NCAA women’s championships in 2001, 2002 and 2003. Currently she is the Head Coach of Frolunda HC women’s team in Sweden’s Division 1.




Heather MANNIX (USA) joined USA Hockey in 2019 as an American Development Model manager of female hockey, and currently holds the title of Manager of Education and Player Development. She came to USA Hockey with a background in sport and exercise psychology, and exercise physiology. She works with local hockey associations and programs nationwide to support age-appropriate training, competition, and long-term athlete development. She also works very heavily with the Coaching Education Program and consults with the Officiating Education Program. She has also helped to develop new coaching curriculum content as well as training curriculum for Coach Developers nationwide.



Katja PASANEN (FIN) works as a mental performance coach in several different sports. She has worked as Head Coach of the IFK Helsinki U16 and U18 women’s teams and HPK senior women’s team. Already as a player and then later as a coach she was interested, how can she help players play at their level. She has studied e.g. sports psychology, behavior, sports medicine and social psychology, etc. Currently she is mental coach of Finish men’s top-level league team Rauman Lukko. “The higher the level of performance in top sports, the smaller the technical differences in the sport become, and the mental control of strengths becomes more prominent.” (www.katjapasanen.fi)

Florence SCHELLING (SUI) is an Olympic and World Championship bronze medalist and MVP. As a goalie, she represented the Swiss Women’s National Team for 15 years, including at at the Winter Olympics of 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018. She played at Northeastern University in the NCAA and Linköping’s HC for three seasons in the Swedish SDHL.

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